From aneurysm repairs to additive manufacturing techniques, the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program at MSOE has focused on a wide range of micro-manufacturing applications in the aerospace, architectural, biomedical, biomolecular, composite, electro-optical, fluid power and manufacturing industries.

Now in its 20th year at MSOE, the prestigious 10-week summer program offers undergraduate students from around the country access to MSOE’s expert faculty and state-of-the-art research facilities. This summer, eight students were selected to participate in the program.

REU is an innovative, interdisciplinary program funded by the National Science Foundation, MSOE’s Rapid Prototyping Center, MSOE’s Fluid Power InstituteTM and the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP) to give undergraduates hands-on experience in research. To date, 190 students have participated in the program. For the second year in a row, two participants spent six weeks conducting research in advanced manufacturing at the National Laser Center at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa.

Hands-on access to solid freeform fabrication devices and fluid power laboratories, close partnerships with advisors, industry mentors and other educational institutions, paired with a creative learning environment provided students with a high probability of success in research focused on solving industrial problems through advanced manufacturing technology.

Students conducted research, visited professionals and problem solved with advisors, teammates and other resources. They participated in poster sessions, group discussions, research documentation, learned new software, made presentations, built models, designed and completed experiments and wrote research papers.


Romare Antrobus, biochemistry major, Lawrence University from Brooklyn, N.Y.
Project: Electro-spun Nanofibers for Biological and Medical Applications
This research presents a fabrication method of biocompatible pectin nanofibers via electrospun pectin mixtures prepared with the carrier polymer PEO and hydrophilic non-toxic surfactant Pluronic F127. The pectin-PEO-F127 ratio was varied in order to lower surface tension and increase hydrogen bonding for an increase in solution compatibility, which enhances electrospinning. Also, electrospinning process parameters (voltage, spinning distance, needle tip size, and solution flow rate) were adjusted to ensure the prior mixture ratio produces non- aligned nanofibers. Layers of these non-aligned fibers create scaffolds that mimic the extracellular matrix which helps induce cell proliferation, communication, and behavior. These nanofibrous scaffolds are characterized by microscopy and spectrometry.
Advisor: Dr. Wujie Zhang, assistant professor, physics and chemistry, MSOE

Amanda Banks, biomedical engineering major, St. Louis University from McHenry, Illinois
Project: Bio-printing Vascularized Tissues Using a Pectin-Based Bio-ink
This study investigated the capability of bioprinting vascularized tissues using a pectin based bioink. Pectin is a linear polysaccharide found in the peels of apples and oranges, making it biocompatible. Pectin can act as an extracellular matrix allowing for cells to survive, proliferate, migrate, and carry out specific functions. Pluronic F-127 was incorporated into the bioink to obtain the desired shape during the bioprinting process. The Fab@Home M3 bioprinter was used to create the desired hydrogel scaffold shape. Once an object was printed it was treated with Ca2+ or oligiochitosan (hydrogel cross linker) to create the final tissue/organs, allowing the object to sustain a stable shape at both storage and body temperature. The results indicate viability of pectin to bioprint cells with a vascularized network.
Advisor: Dr. Wujie Zhang, assistant professor, physics and chemistry, MSOE

Angel Chukwu, mechanical engineering major, East Carolina University from Clayton, North Carolina
Project: Applications of Additive Manufacturing: From Coffee Lids to Pediatric Airways
This research explores the problem solving capabilities of additive manufacturing (AM) in a variety of applications. One everyday problem involves a design flaw in the Starbucks hot coffee cup that results in coffee dripping. After analyzing the problem through a series of experiments, an optimal coffee cup design was modeled and 3D models were printed and tested. AM can also be used as a tool for specialized biomedical applications such as analyzing the physical effects of obstructed airways in young children. This project used the ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ MIMICS software to convert MRI scans into 3D models. The goal is to use AM to produce physical 3D models clear enough to compete with those produced by CT scans, ultimately demonstrating a more patient friendly method for analyzing biomedical images.
Advisor: Dr. Subha Kumpaty, professor, mechanical engineering, MSOE

Margaret Clapham, chemistry/neuroscience major, Drake University from Cedarburg, Wis.
Project: Hepatotoxicity Testing of Acetaminophen in 2D and 3D Rat Hepatocyte Cultures
This study aimed to establish a more accurate and inexpensive pharmaceutical testing model that has high reproducibility. Rat hepatocytes were grown in both 2D and 3D cultures. It is expected that 3D cultures increase cell-cell interactions and preserve better cell function. 3D cultures were grown and cells were treated with acetaminophen and analyzed for cytotoxicity using a Neutral Red Dye. Cell functionality was then tested based on albumin secretion using an Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA). Results of the 2D and 3D models are compared and examined with previous studies.
Advisor: Dr. Vipin Paliwal, associate professor, physics and chemistry, MSOE

Madison James, chemical engineering-biomed major, University of Oklahoma from Flower Mound, Texas
Project: Phantom Brain for Infrared Neuroimaging
The purpose of this research is creation of a phantom brain to test the accuracy of infrared cameras at mapping blood movement around the brain. Using Mimics and Magics software, the phantom was designed in the shape of half of the human brain, with a network of vessels modeled through it and was additively manufactured using stereolithography. The phantom, connected to a pump/heating system was used to analyze the ability of infrared cameras to detect temperature differences between the brain surface and the blood. Using FLIR-62101 T450sc infrared camera, this research showed the functionality of mapping small temperature differences in neuroimaging.
Advisor: Dr. Subha Kumpaty, professor, mechanical engineering, MSOE

Logan MacKenzie, electrical engineering major, Grove City College from Union City, Pennsylvania
Project: Wheelchair Mounted Robotic Manipulator Development and Dynamics
This research presents a low-cost, fluid powered, wheelchair mounted robotic manipulator to assist quadriplegics in reclaiming some independence. Continuing with the work from recent REU, this research focuses on further analysis of the design and development of the manipulator dynamics to determine torques on each joint and appropriately size the fluid power actuators necessary for operation. Further, a method for generating planned motions of the manipulator was developed to provide a basis for future development of Cartesian control of the manipulator and to reduce cognitive fatigue of the user by having a library of pre-programmed behaviors that can be used to perform routine tasks. This manipulator with its reduced cost and increased payload capacity will enhance the quality of living of quadriplegics.
Advisor: Dr. Luis Rodriguez, assistant professor, mechanical engineering

Elizabeth Paoli, mechanical engineering major, MSOE from Plainfield, Illinois
Project: Characterization of Functionally Graded Ti6Al4V + Mo Manufactured via Laser Metal Deposition
This research assesses the material characteristics of several functionally graded Ti6Al4V samples with varying percentages of Molybdenum. Laser Metal Deposition was employed to produce several samples with varying percentages of molybdenum: 5%, 10%, and 15%, all of which have constant laser power and scanning speeds. A functionally graded sample was also manufactured, in which there are alternating layers of deposition of 5% Mo, 10% Mo and 15% Mo. The properties of these alloys were compared to those of a pure Ti6Al4V sample. The properties compared are the hardness, microstructure, fracture toughness, and corrosion resistance. In addition, the Scanning Electron Microscopy was used to check the powder morphology and the X-Ray Diffractogram was used to check the phases present in the samples. The usefulness of functionally graded Ti6Al4V-Mo alloy for biomedical applications is established.
Advisors: Dr. Subha Kumpaty, professor, mechanical engineering, MSOE; Dr. Esther Akinlabi, University of Johannesburg; Dr. Sisa Pityana, University of Johannesburg

Arianna Ziemer, mechanical engineering major, MSOE from New Richmond, Wisconsin
Project: Surface Modification of Laser Deposited Ti-6Al-4V + 10% Mo for Medical Application Using Optimum Settings
The main goal of this work is to observe characteristic changes in laser metal deposited Ti-6Al-4V + 10% Molybdenum at different scan speeds (0.5-1.5 m/min). When Mo added to the Titanium alloy the hardness, biocompatibility and corrosion resistance of the material is increased. Five samples of the laser deposited Ti-6Al-4V + 10% Mo, all at laser power of 1700 W were fabricated at the CSIR National Laser Center in Pretoria, South Africa. The microstructure, micro hardness and corrosion resistance of the samples were studied at the University of Johannesburg. The ideal scan speed is chosen by identifying the sample that is the strongest and most resistant to corrosion.
Advisors: Dr. Subha Kumpaty, professor, mechanical engineering, MSOE; Dr. Esther Akinlabi, University of Johannesburg; Dr. Sisa Pityana, University of Johannesburg